Saturday, January 7, 2012
Pre-Game: Game #41 Oilers vs. Stars
Half way point in the year and the end of an ugly road trip that has likely sealed their fates for this year. The Oilers are a team that deosn't have a lot of margin for error, so if the lines get mismatched, or the D pairings are out of whack, or the goaltending has a headache, any of these causes could end up in losses. Tom Renney needs to do a better job of understanding what pieces he has available to him and playing to their strengths. Trying to get two lines that work instead of one. If they are playing out these games to try and get maximum value for players such as Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner, then its gonna get ugly. The Oilers do have a lot of pieces to work here now, even with Nugent-Hopkins on the shelf. Hartikainen and Green add big body presence, Hall and Hemsky have outside speed. Eberle and Smyth provide some net presence and ability to collect pucks around the net. Horcoff, Belanger and Lander have two-way center ability. Its just a matter of getting the lines to mesh well. The defense is a little lacking in Ryan Whitney's and Tom Gilbert's absence. They really take away the transition and puck moving game of the Oilers. They just have to make due in battling harder in thr trenches. Dallas comes into this game winners in Nashville by a score of 4-2. The Stars have been in win one, lose one mode lately. The Oilers don't have a lot of luck in Dallas lately, or ever for that matter.
- The pieces are there, its up to Tom Renney to make them fit.
- The Oilers defense is really depleted.
- Kari Lehtonen is a top 5 gaoltender in the NHL for my money.
Special Teams Oilers
- The Stars are 22nd and 23rd on the PP and PK. The Oilers are 2nd and 10th.
- This is a tough one but I'll take Renney's experience over Guletzen.
- End of a road trip for the Oilers + afternoon game = potantial disaster.
Oilers: (I really hope they change the lines)
Game Time - 12 PM MT @ Dallas on Sportsnet West.